Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Baptism Day!

We were so blessed by the opportunity to welcome LC and Jace into our church family and witness God's public claiming of their hearts and lives.

Thanks to the friends and family who celebrated the day with us...both near and far...we love you so.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Snooze Tunes

55.  Song:  Blessed Be
Album:  Country Goes Raffi
Artist:  Alison Krauss

54.  One Love
If You Were For Me
Rose Cousins

53.  Forgiven
Something Burning
Deb Talan

52.  Scratch
Kendall Payne

51.  You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
Careless Love
Madeleine Peyroux

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nothing Better

Our blog has been a bit Pudge-heavy this week.  But we have to post one more LC-centered entry.

Because after 8 months of near silence,  LC learned to babble and the sound was beautiful.

She learned to crawl like a speed demon and we couldn't have been more tickled.

She learned to stand...and then walk...and we couldn't have cheered louder.

But this performed the single greatest thing I have ever witnessed.

Turn up the volume before this one plays.  That sound is simply the best one I've heard.

Friday Fashion Show

I noticed a diaper-clad LC crawling into my bedroom this morning.

Imagine my surprise when this LC came walking down the hallway.

Yup.  That's my T-shirt.

It had previously been in the dirty clothes hamper that she turned over while selecting an ensemble for the day.

You can see she is QUITE delighted with the naughtiness of secretly dressing herself in my clothes.

Oh, if only I had recorded the ornery giggles that she was sputtering with as she made her way down the hall...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pipsqueak Picasso

One of LC's occupational therapists suggested allowing LC to use markers on a vertical surface to strengthen her hand muscles and improve her fine motor skills.  Markers give more bright color rewards to a budding artist than an ordinary crayon would, hence their recommendation as LC's first artistic medium to experiment with.

I smiled and agreed that marker therapy would hold obvious fine motor benefits for LC, but the entire time I was thinking, "Not on my drunkest day would I entrust markers into those hands."

Which is why God made daddies. 

Because when mom and common sense say "no", daddies say, "Which color would you like to start with, Pudgiekins?"

LC, Daddy and her brand new pack of Pipsqueak markers...

Waiting for inspiration...

Out of focus, since I'm in the process of dropping the camera when I realize Dad is allowing marker therapy to double as snack time...

Final touches (literally).  I believe final licks are happening in this shot as well...

The final masterpiece, soon to be replacing the photograph of bacon currently on display in Justin's office...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dear Zip,

I want to start by saying how proud we are that you are finally attempting a little self-feeding.  We've been hoping you'd give it a try for awhile now, and we don't want your efforts to go uncelebrated.

I realize your father and I were remiss in not mentioning this before.  And, for that, I apologize.

But, Zip?  Once you've munched something and it works its way down and into your's no longer a candidate for snacking. promise to stick with those Gerber puffs I've been buying you and I'll promise not to swab out your mouth with copious amounts of Listerine again. 

 "How much of his own crap can my child safely consume?" is a question I'd like to avoid posing to the Poison Control Center.  I'm pretty sure the authorities are already watching our house as it is. the enthusiasm, Buddy.  You really hold the potential to be a munching wonder. 

Love, Mom

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Delayed Response...

I thought I'd better respond to the recent segment on ABC's "What Would You Do".

I've been slow in blogging about it for a variety of reasons.  One of the most significant being that it took me two days to even get up the nerve to watch the darn thing.  I don't like confrontation and actively avoid it.  It makes me uncomfortable to experience it and equally uncomfortable to watch others engaged in it. 

I also didn't think my response to it would be anything surprising or blogworthy.  I am raising two children with Down syndrome, for cripe's sake.  How do you THINK I'm going to feel about someone berating a person with Down syndrome who is not being defended by the capable adults around them?

But I DID finally watch it.  Alone.  Thanks to the DVR, after the squiblets had gone down for nap.  I watched it more than once, actually.  And it gave me quite a bit to think about.

Obviously, each time I viewed it, I had LC or Jace standing in that grocery bagger's shoes.  And I almost thought, "Dear God, PLEASE don't ever let them experience something like that."

And then, I literally laughed out loud.

Because I will fight for LC and Jace to experience EVERYTHING their typical peers experience in life.  And EVERY ONE of their typical peers is going to be unfairly underestimated in the course of their lives.  It may be the girl who isn't considered for advanced science and math courses...or the Christian who isn't included in the weekend's party invites...or the kid from the low-income family who isn't elected for student will happen to EVERY...person...alive.

And it is GOING to happen to my kids. 

I began to imagine what that day will look like in our house.

I thought of what my response might be if LC comes to me one day and asks me why she was unfairly treated based on her appearance as a young lady with Down syndrome.  I considered my response options...

"Maybe someone who looks like you cut him off in traffic this morning."

"Maybe that woman, like your own mother, rounded a corner one day to find a naked toddler with Down syndrome crapping on her dining room floor and flinging turds across the room like a chimp at the zoo.  Maybe that woman never quite recovered.  (Hypothetically)."

"Maybe that man was wildly undermedicated...recently escaped from an institution for the angry and stupid.  Were there people with handcuffs following him at the time?"

Perhaps I'll start compiling potential responses in a preparation for the event...

The one thing that surprised me most about viewing the episode was that I was not as devastated as I thought I would be by the people who did not stick up for the bagger being attacked.  I was as eager as every other mother out there to wildly applaud the people that did defend the employee with Down syndrome, but I was not deeply hurt by those who did nothing.

Because, in my opinion, the scenario left out one very viable option.

The young man they featured as the bagger in the scenario was confident in who he was.  He was proud of who he was.  He was able to make eye contact with the people around him and speak to who he was.

He knew his truth.  He was able to speak to it.

In LC and Jace's future inevitably similar scenarios, I pray that they will be surrounded by a swarm of people who are willing to stand between them and stupidity and defend them in the face of cruelty and ignorance.

But...if that swarm of people doesn't arrive...if the capable people around them only stare at their shoes...or simply smile politely, I want my LC and my Jace to know their truth.  I want two young people who will make eye contact with ignorant individuals they're faced with and simply say, "You don't know me.  And I know better."

The question that keeps me up at night is not "What Would I Do" or "What Will Random Strangers Do".

The question is "What Will LC and Jace Do?"

And my hopes are high.  Because, if nothing else, my children have spunk.  I have been personally cursed at by Jace on numerous occasions.  (Justin can attest to this).  LC may not have the fine motor dexterity to manipulate the gesture, but she has flipped me off repeatedly with her actions when my suggestions are far from what she'd choose for herself.

I know what I hope both of my children will do.  And anyone who chooses to underestimate either of them really ought to know better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lucky Auntie Cotes

Oh, I have delicious nephews.  This one takes the cake.

And did I mention he's moving closer to us?  From ALL the way in California? 

Oh, we can hardly WAIT!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Moments of Cute from my Day

Beach Ready

Actually, he looks more appropriately dressed for a geriatric singles' cruise. 

 I felt obligated to show some pictures of Jace in a state of consciousness, since he's slowly returning from the Land of Spew...

Probably odd that the main selling point of this new sunhat (for me) was the fact that he goes completely cross-eyed as soon as he puts it on.

I figure it will keep him honest when he's surrounded by all those bikinis this summer.

Now if only I could find one for Justin...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boosting a Buddy...

This is our blog buddy, Taylor...

She had an AV canal repair on April 27th and was returned to ICU last night. 

While it's important for babies to stay in the hospital post-operatively until they're absolutely ready to head home, sometimes the stay holds risks of its own.

Taylor caught a stomach bug during her recovery and it's slowed things down in how things "usually" progress following her correction.

Could you please join us in praying Taylor home?  I can't imagine what point of physical and mental exhaustion her family is reaching but I'm sure it's staggering.  Also, if you could PLEASE visit her blog and drop some words of encouragement before you go, I know they'd be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks for helping us boost another heart buddy...we're so blessed to have so many boosters to share...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fashion Choices

Why we let Jace stay fuzzy and unkempt.
As soon as I slick him with the washcloth, I'm suddenly the parent of Kate Gosselin.

Sick Bug: The Sequel

Zip has (knock on wood) kept down a full bottle this morning, but is super-pooped.  (Sadly, that applies both figuratively AND literally...)

...and, judging by someone's dumpy expression and lack of enthusiasm for beloved goldfish crackers...

...I'd say this bug is about to claim its second victim.

Updated approximately 7 minutes later to report the eruption of Mt. Saint Pudge.  $10 says Justin calls within the hour to announce his plans for working late this evening...

One of the Perks of Having Short Kids...

...there's room for everybody on the couch.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Unfortunate First.




Zip took a very uncharacteristic 3 hour nap this afternoon.

An equally uncharacteristic spray of vomit (delivered at point-blank range upon yours truly) at 10:00 p.m. explained the earlier snooze.

It appears Zippy is battling his first stomach bug.

I'm growing suspicious of the cute blondes he may have been smooching when my head was turned.

Since he seems to rest best on the sofa, it looks like I'll be having a living room sleepover with a cute little blonde of my own. 

Sweet dreams, Zipper.  Here's hoping you're back in oatmeal-munching form by morning...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mobility Restored

The latest model in our line of ghetto walkers.

Since crawling is out for the time being, we thought we'd better help facilitate walking a bit.

The beauty of this design is that she doesn't stoop when she's walking.  And she can't run it into a wall or walk it into a corner and get stuck.  She just scoots to the other side of the bucket and...problem solved.

Added bonus?  Her cast serves as a drumstick for her giant drum. 

Looking forward to the next 3 weeks of toddler tribal music playing in the background...

Saturday Snooze Tunes

60.  Song:  Words Fail You
Artist:  Kris Delmhorst
Album:  Five Stories

59.  Hazy
Rosi Golan
The Drifter and the Gypsy

58.  Rowing Song
Patty Griffin
Impossible Dream

57.  Heartbeats
Jose Gonzalez

56.  Sweet Little Duck
Kathleen Edwards

Friday, May 14, 2010

Housekeeping Casualty

We were working on the "turn around and slide down" technique of getting off of furniture.  It's one of our therapy goals.

Clearly, it's one we haven't met.

The tumble off the bed wouldn't have been so bad.

But she hit the vacuum...repeatedly...on the way down.

So, the arm is broken.  A little buckle break above her wrist.  And I think all housekeeping chores involving specialized equipment should be postponed until after the children are safely in kindergarten.

LC's pretty frustrated at not being able to crawl, but on the plus side, she's starting to initiate more independent step-taking.  Because, as she's proved time and time again, the naughty doesn't just come to you.  You have to be able to go out and make it happen.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dear Pudge...

I am going to start taking the replacement costs of wet wipes out of your college fund.

If you're going to pull ALL of the wipes out of the bag, at least be more obvious and deliberate about it.

When I discover what you've done AFTER the effects of your brother's molotov cocktail of a laxative have already dropped into his pants, time outs happen.

On a related note, Jace does not recommend over the sink diaper changes with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  There's a reason why they're not cleaning babies' bottoms on those commercials.

Please consider the above when you're independently seeking fine-motor skill development opportunities in the future.

Love, Mom


Cute Stuff They Do I Don't Wanna Forget...

I realized the other day that even Justin doesn't escape this category.

 Justin isn't a lullaby-singer...or a bouncer...or a walk and snuggle and soother when it comes to quieting a fussy baby. 

When the pants are dry, the belly's full, the medication has been given and the kid is STILL fussing, Justin resorts to cognitive coaching.

When somebody short is sad at our house, he plops them on the couch beside him.  He puts his arm around their shoulder, and he talks them through it. 

"Just let it go, Jace.  Don't think about it.  Think happy thoughts.  Nemo.  Bottles.  Ceiling fans.  Greenie.  TV.  Bathtime."

Whenever they start getting upset, he adamantly continues, "No, no, no!  Happy thoughts, Jace!  Cereal.  LC when she's not poking.  Nemo's dad Marlin because they look alike and are hard to tell apart.  Happy thoughts, Jace."

And, darned if it doesn't work.  Every time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthday Monkey Meltdown

I had such high hopes.  I wanted the squiblets to celebrate Aunt Teresa's birthday in the adorable matching monkey pajamas she'd sent for them.  It was going to be adorable.  Her two birthday monkeys, snuggled on the bed.

Until one birthday monkey decided to attack the other with an uninvited smooch...

...which quickly progressed into a body slam.

And while the monkey in blue was receiving some consolation...

...the monkey in pink literally fell off the bed and bumped her head.

So, when all was said and done, only one grinning monkey was caught on film to send our happy birthday wishes to Aunt Teresa.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Teresa!
We hope you have a
day full of sweet surprises!

Monday, May 10, 2010

19 Months...

Happy 19 Month Day, Pudgerella...
Whatever did we find to smile about
 before you came along?

We love you so.

Homemade Monday: Mother's Day Treat

For as long as I can remember, I've always requested a rhubarb tart over cake to celebrate my birthday.

For Mother's Day, I received a crown of rhubarb to transplant into my own garden.  Since LC shared my enthusiasm for the treat, it looks like this may be something we use on a regular homemade Monday basis...

(Click the recipe to open a larger, printable card...)

Happy Homemade Monday!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday Snooze Tunes

65.  Song:  Fare Thee Well
Artist:  Indigo Girls
Album:  Swamp Ophelia

64.  You Can Close Your Eyes
James Taylor
MudSlide Slim & The Blue Horizon

63.  Settle In, My Child, and Sleep
Andrew Peterson
Slugs, Bugs & Lullabies

62.  I Am
Jill Phillips
Jill Phillips

61.  Some Things Don't Work Out
Joe Purdy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monumental Monday...

Yesterday, LC drank a record TWELVE ounces of liquid orally.  I was floored by how much progress she has made in the gulping department.

Her greatest achievement was one she saved for before bedtime...whatever it takes for a few extra minutes of Dad-time...

I told Justin that it was a complete and utter FLUKE that I had the camera on her when she did it. 

Silly me.  Of course it wasn't a fluke!

God had to make sure her Ohio friends and family had front row seats, too!

Way to GO, SuperPudge.  We're oh-so-tickled for you and the increase in naughtiness this will surely be allowing you...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Monday: Narrowing the Gap

One phrase our occupational therapist encouraged us to keep in mind when working to strengthen fine motor skills was to continually "narrow the gap".  It used to be a challenge for LC to perform a controlled drop of a toy into a box with a large opening.  As her motor (and direction following) skills have improved, we need to increase the challenge-level of the tasks by narrowing the space she has to aim for.

Here are some activities we've created from household items in an attempt to continue strengthening LC's fine motor skills.

We took most of our inspiration from this purchased Fisher Price toy.  It clearly requires LC to drop objects into small, designated spots based on size and shape.  However, the number of objects and choices for openings is pretty overwhelming for LC right now at her stage of development.  We can simplify the activity by taping over some of the shape options or decreasing the number of shapes she works with. 

We have more success with some of the following homemade options, using items from around the house.

This activity involves dropping jumbo sized craft sticks into the opening of the rubbermaid liquid container we used to use for mixing formula.  LC has to manipulate the stick a bit to get it through the target, but the circular opening is still large enough that she doesn't have to be exactly precise in order to be successful in getting the stick into the container.
Sidenote:  Neat colored sticks, right?  I had them leftover from my elementary teaching days.  They're bright and colorful and BLEED LIKE CRAZY WHEN WET.  I do NOT recommend them for toddlers in the taste-testing-everything stage of life.

This activity resulted from some modifications to a similar one Loren's mom shared with us.  She's always super creative and full of good ideas...

It's the jumbo craft sticks again and an empty grated parmesan cheese container.  For early practice, we put the jumbo sticks through the large opening on side.

Once she's improved in dexterity a bit, we can open up the smaller-holed side and use straws that have been cut in half.
Finally, she can be given both objects and determine which of the two sides to use when placing the objects into the container.

Our last activity is a way of recycling used formula containers and lids.
I cut a wide slit into a formula container lid large enough to fit various lids from around the house.  Yogurt, sour cream, cake frosting, pickles, babyfood, cream cheese....each lid fits through the same slot but needs to be manipulated in order to make it through into the container.

I modified another lid to accommodate shapes of different sizes.
This lid is designed for working with old plastic Easter eggs and the smaller size of craft stick.  We start with the craft sticks only, since she can achieve success with either size hole.  Then we transition to the eggs, so she understands that the eggs only make it through one opening and they'll only make it through vertically...not horizontally.  Finally, she works with both objects together on the "puzzle".

Let us know how you're practicing to strengthen fine motor skills at your house!  We love to hear your ideas!

We'll end with a shot of my handsome photo assistant...just because I find him incredibly charming...